Kukla's Korner

A New Beginning For Lecavalier

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that the feeling of finality set in for Vincent Lecavalier.

He had been home in the Montreal area for the summer when he found out that the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the only NHL team Lecavalier had ever known and the team he helped put on the map both locally and nationally -- bought him out of the final seven years of his monster 11-year contract. So the impact wasn't quite as dramatic as if he'd been traded midseason or something of that nature. The Lightning sent him his equipment so he didn't have to return to the St. Pete Times Forum and confront the many memories he created there.

There was, in fact, a bit of a disconnect from the enormity of the situation.

But when he returned to his house in Tampa several weeks ago, it truly sunk in that the page had been turned both for him and the Lightning.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vincent+lecavalier

Ian White Hopes To Stay At Home In Winnipeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Melissa Martin of the Winnipeg Free Press,

The off-season was a rough one, as the plunging salary cap choked the free agent market and left many battle-worn NHL journeymen hunting for work. A bunch of them still are.

While that was going on, White retreated to his family's off-season home in Kenora. He tucked offers from Europe into his back pocket and waited, if a little nervously.

"Getting closer to camp, it seemed like there was hardly anyone being signed," he said. "The cap going down threw a big monkey wrench into everyone's plans."

So now, for a veteran of five NHL teams and 503 regular-season games, a new plan: White will battle to make the cut. The Jets have 18 blue-liners in camp, with seven on one-way NHL contracts already and few spots up for grabs. There's also Zach Redmond, who appeared to solidly install himself with the big club before his horrific leg injury last season and talented youngsters Jacob Trouba and Julian Melchiori will push for their NHL chance.

A pro, though, can't get caught up worrying about all of that.

more inlcuding a few thoughts on his time with the Wings last season...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ian+white

Duhatschek: holdouts now the exception instead of the ‘normal’ way to negotiate contracts

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek believes that the recent re-signings of players like Daniel Cleary and Nazem Kadri, combined with last year's relatively painless re-signings of training camp "hold-outs" like P.K. Subban and the relatively few numbers of holdouts this year illustrate the fact that extended holdouts--which used to be the one and only way for high-profile players to earn the big bucks they seek from reluctant rights-holders--just aren't the way of the contract-negotiating CBA beast anymore:

Cody Hodgson re-upped last Wednesday with the Buffalo Sabres, there remain just a handful of unsigned players out there as NHL training camps opened with the first on-ice workouts Thursday.

Derek Stepan hasn’t come to terms with the New York Rangers. Also, the Leafs and Ottawa Senators are negotiating hard with Cody Franson and Jared Cowan, respectively, and the St. Louis Blues appear headed toward a showdown with their best player, Alex Pietrangelo.

But that’s it. Compare that to how things were in the 1990s, when it seemed every team had two or three annual contract skirmishes.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+pietrangelo, cody+franson, cody+hodgson, daniel+cleary, derek+stepan, jared+cowan, nazem+kadri

Looking To The Future - The Next NHL Powerhouse Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Players around the NHL believe the Edmonton Oilers will wake up one morning and discover they have become the Pittsburgh Penguins or Chicago Blackhawks.

USA TODAY Sports surveyed 29 top NHL players and asked them to choose one team that will rise up to be a powerhouse in three seasons. The Oilers received 16 votes. No other team picked up more than five votes.

"Everyone knows the skill we have," said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle. "We can score goals. We are not having issues with the games that we are winning 6-5 or 8-1. We are having issues with the ones that 1-0, 2-1."

The comparisons to the Penguins and Blackhawks are appropriate because the foundation blocks of their success were high-profile draft picks.

continued including other teams receiving votes in the survey...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Spezza’s Time to Shine?

Blog: KK Hockey By Da lil Guy

I'd like to introduce you to our newest KK blogger, Da lil Guy.

I am sure the name sounds familar to some of you, he is active in the comment sections throughout the KK blogs and has been a member for over 3 years.

His team is the Ottawa Senators but will be blogging on different NHL topics too. -Paul

Ever since the Ottawa Senators captaincy became vacant (y'know, when whatshisname left to play somewhere else), the $5 million dollar question in Ottawa has been who will wear the 'C' going forward. In fact - $5 million was the amount Sens defenceman Mark Methot was offered by the media to reveal his thoughts on the subject after day 2 of the Sens training camp, but he still declined politely when they couldn't show him the money upfront.

We do know a few things, and the first is that the Senators next Captain will be chosen by the coaching staff and not by a player vote. This is a departure from the procedure that elected the last captain (wait...it'll come to me), but of course we all know how that turned out.

The second thing is that it will not be 2011-12 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. Despite the current trend towards younger NHL captains, Coach Paul MacLean dismissed the possibility on day 1 of training camp. The Paulrus said he would look to the team's leadership group – which includes Goaltender Craig Anderson and the three longest serving members of the Team – Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: da+lil+guy, jason+spezza

Ovi And Oates Together In Moscow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,

In the middle of August, as his offseason was winding down, Alex Ovechkin received a phone call. Told he needed to pick up a first-time visitor to Russia, he promptly drove to Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow and came upon a one-time Ontario hayseed whose only concept of that part of eastern Europe was “Rocky IV.”

“Ovi!” Adam Oates called.

“What’s up, Coach?”

Over the next 24 hours or so, the three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and coach of the Washington Capitals spent time on the ice, in front of Oates’s computer watching an Ovechkin highlight video of last season and finally at a chic Moscow restaurant watching a World Cup qualifier with Ovi’s boys.

“He came to me,” Ovechkin said on the first day of training camp, sounding genuinely moved that Oates crossed two continents to visit him at home. “He work out with me. He show me some things. He showed me highlights and talk to me.”

Asked what Oates communicated that day, Ovechkin replied, “He told me I had good season, but I could be better.”

That’s about right, Oates confirmed.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: adam+oates, alex+ovechkin

Cody Franson Hopes His Contract “Gets Worked Out Soon”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonas Siegel of TSN,

In a statement delivered exclusively to TSN.ca Thursday evening, Franson expressed optimism that a resolution would come to pass in the very near future. 

"I really like playing in Toronto,” he said. “I think we have a great team and we have some unfinished business to take care of. I learned a lot from the coaches last year and felt like my game took a step forward. I understand the cap situation this team faces and have been ready to sign a one-year deal for some time. I hope this gets worked out soon so I can get back on the ice with my teammates"

Franson wants to remain in Toronto and the Leafs would like to keep him, believing in his promise as an eventual top-4 defender. But the two sides are entrenched in entirely different terms on a contract.

Though he would not discuss actual figures for the negotiation, Franson is believed to be open to a one-year deal worth $3 million – cognizant of the cap coming down this year – a number that would seem to fall below his perceived value following a career year in 2013. The Leafs however, are not inclined to sign him to a one-year deal under any circumstance, seeing no benefit to such an outcome while faced with the prospect of an even more challenging negotiation next summer if Franson were to produce another strong year this season.

Instead, the Leafs are believed to prefer two years at what they would contend is a fair number for both sides, thereby bringing the B.C. native to the gates of unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cody+franson

Canucks Skate, Then Gasp For Air

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,

John Tortorella promised a tough training camp, and Vancouver Canucks players will tell you their new coach is a man of his word.

“It was pretty simple,” said defenceman Dan Hamhuis. “We skated in circles.”

Yes, they did, and without pucks. Round and round they went until there was no air left in their lungs and their legs absolutely burned from the lactic acid buildup. And then Tortorella asked them to skate some more.

Tortorella thinks he can learn a lot about a player who is physically exhausted and asked to push just a little bit harder. He likes to test the limits of his players and that basically was what happened Thursday at UBC.

Thursday’s session wasn’t just about determining what kind of shape his players are in, but how they react to adversity. Call it Willpower 101.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Jovanovski Trying To Return After Major Hip Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,

Jovanovski underwent hip surgery in April after radical treatments in Germany didn't help with the pain. On Thursday morning, five months after being operated on, Jovanovski -- who turned 37 in June -- was back on the ice with his teammates for the first day of training camp.

Just being suited up and participating on the opening day of camp seemed out of the question to Jovanovski a few months ago.

"It's been a long summer,'' he said. "You always have those doubts, I would be lying if I said I didn't. I had a major surgery done, I had no options. I'm happy where it is right now, my quality of life is much better.''

Now, however, the battle for Jovanovski is to see if he can get back to game speed and help the Panthers on the ice.

"I'm skating right now and it's pretty much pain free,'' Jovanovski said. "But that's skating where pretty much everything is controlled. Getting into a game-like situation, we'll see what happens.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ed+jovanovski

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Maybe it’ll turn out that Helm and Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi are lost for the season and Cleary is back as an insurance policy, a fourth line stabilizer. If that’s the case, then signing him is simply a lateral move. But if his return means guys like Tatar and Nyquist don’t get their shot, it’s hard not to see this as a bad move for the Wings.

-Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated wheren you can read more on the Cleary signing.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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